When I first began this blog I set up a category called ‘Card of the Day’, where every now and then I’d peruse my own collection and pick out a card that holds some sort of significance to me as a Baseball card collector. Unfortunately, as I don’t have the largest collection in the world by any stretch of the imagination, I’ve only ended up posting four articles under the ‘Card of the Day’ banner… More like ‘Card of the Month’ I suppose!!
Anyway, I’ve mulled a few ideas over and, as I’ve recently been taken over by the Prospect bug, I thought I’d start up a new and (semi) regular feature called ‘Prospect Watch’ – although you probably got that from the title of the post!
The idea behind ‘Prospect Watch’ is to highlight younger players, just on the cusp of their MLB careers, who have the potential to become the stars of the future! I’ve said before that a large number of collectors in the UK don’t always hear about these types of players until they hit The Bigs, so this is really who I’m aiming these posts at… and anyone else who might be interested, of course!
I’ve scoured the Scouting Reports and various other Prospect-related sites, so please enjoy! And first out the blocks is one of my own cards, pulled fresh from a pack of 2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects, a few weeks ago.
Corey Seager was drafted by the LA Dodgers with the 18th pick in the first round of this years amateur Baseball draft. He is the younger brother of Mariners 2B Kyle and scouts predict that he has the skills in time to eclipse his older sibling. Corey played SS while at Northwest Cabarrus High School in North Carolina but it is believed that as he develops his game at the next level he will eventually move over to 3B.
Coast 2 Coast Prospects points out that Seager has been on the scouts radar for some time “thanks to his Major League bloodlines” and has always displayed raw hitting ability at the plate. His improved consistency at being able to drive the ball has seen his stock rise quickly, and he rapidly moved from 3rd to 5th round draft consideration to being discussed as a 1st round pick! Despite being only drafted back in June, Seager is already the #3 rated Prospect in the Dodgers’ organisation, behind Yasiel Puig (OF) and Zach Lee (RHP).
Seager, who turns 19 in April 2013, has committed to college at South Carolina (and it is believed it will greatly help his game by honouring his college commitments) so we shouldn’t be expecting to see him in the majors any time soon. Staff writer at the Bleacher Report, Will Leivenberg, contributed this analysis of Seager back in June 2012:
“Corey is a tall and projectable left-handed hitter who plays top-notch defense at the hot corner. He exhibits natural instincts in the field and possesses surprising speed. He has soft hands and a smooth transfer, and has popped 90 mph across the infield.
At the plate, Seager has impressive raw bat speed and the ball jumps off his bat. However, he has a hitch in his swing that makes him vulnerable to quality velocity, and will likely need some experience to iron it out.”
This in itself speaks highly of this young
but for a more all round view of Seager then check out this Scouting Report courtesy of Baseball Prospect Nation:
Body (6-3, 195): Premium body. Very good athlete. Long and lean with room for additional strength without compromising athleticism or quickness. Good present strength. Two paths for physical projection; remain long, lean athlete with some additional strength, or thicken up with maturity and become a physical beast.
Hit: Natural hitter. Consistent swing path and hands work well throughout the swing. Simple trigger allows him to get the bat to the zone quickly. Plus bat speed that could get even better with more strength. Struggles to control barrel of the bat at times; that should improve with added strength. Potential for above-average to plus hitting ability if everything develops properly. Even without reaching max potential, enough feel to hit .270-.275 at his peak. Controls the strike zone well and should add some on-base ability on top of batting average. Grade – 30/50
Power: Bat speed allows for good present pop. Can drive the ball to the gaps with ease at present and gap power projects to translate to HR power down the line. Good loft on the ball now. Easy projection for 18-20 home runs a year and depending on physical development, could max out with 25 annually. Offensive approach and advanced hit tool utility project him to translate power to games easily at each level. Grade (raw power) – 40/50
Arm: Arm stands up to the left side of the infield. Can make all the throws for SS and could handle third base throws as well. Quick release from multiple arm angles. Good accuracy. Good raw strength. Arm is true plus right now and should stay there. Grade – 60/60
Fielding: Amateur scouts were consistent in believing that he would need to move to SS, more because of physical development than skills. Pro scouts in the Pioneer League saw a quality SS defender with a legitimate chance to stick at the position. Instinctual player with good first step. Reads the ball well off the bat and reads hops well. Can get to both sides with average to above-average range. Good hands and footwork. Quality defender overall with chance to be average at SS. If body develops too much, could easily move to 3B and tools would play there as well, possibly at a higher grade. Grade – 40/50
Speed: Shows consistent average times home to first with the occasional plus dig mixed in. Gets out of the box well and has good instincts on the bases. Average runner with a chance to maintain his speed; depending on the physical development. Grade – 50/50
Summation: May have been under-drafted. Really strong potential on both sides of the ball. Bat can play at either SS or 3B. Raw ceiling of plus hit, plus power. More realistic projection for average levels in both areas, still making him a strong player. Good instincts at the plate; very natural. Tools play in games right now and additional refinement could really make them stand out. Solid defensive projection at shortstop and could stick there. Average range, good hands/feet, plus arm. Plus projection at 3B. Heady defensive player. As a shortstop, offensive projection lends to a perennial All-Star ceiling. As a third baseman, could still be an above-average player and occasional All-Star. Could be a big mover in the prospect world.
Relative Risk: High. Long way from maturity and the big leagues.
Future: Seager’s full-season debut demonstrated his excellent polish for his age and showed he should be ready for full-season ball as a 19-year old in 2013. Even if he moves a level at a time, he could be on the big league radar late in the 2016 season. If he maximizes his tools, he’s an All-Star talent.
Unfortunately there aren’t a massive number of Corey Seager cards available right now.
He has the above Prospect auto from Bowman Draft (and accompanying refractor parallels) but I’ve confirmed with Topps that he never had a Prospect base card in that particular release due to his rights deal not being ready before the base cards were produced. He also has an autographed card in 2012 Bowman Sterling, but unfortunately it’s in the form of a redemption when pulled straight out of a pack.
Hopefully 2013 will be more fruitful for all you prospective Corey Seager collectors out there!
On a personal level I’ll be keeping an eye out for Corey Seager cards over the coming years, charting his progression through college and into the minors. This will be the first time I’ve followed a young player like this and it will be interesting to so how the scout’s predictions play out!
So… there we go!! The first ‘Prospect Watch’ is done and dusted! Hopefully you liked it and found it of some use. As usual all comments and feedback are welcome!
Coming up on the next ‘Prospect Watch’ – a treat for all you Pirates fans!!